The Queensland Law Society (QLS) president has welcomed the appointment of Catherine Carew QC as a new Queensland Family Court judge, but says it still needs more judges.
Last week Attorney-General George Brandis QC announced the appointment of six new federal court judges, including Catherine Carew QC to the Family Court in Queensland.
The QLS has applauded the Federal Government on its appointment of Ms Carew QC, but says at least two more judges are needed in Queensland to cope with the state’s overwhelming workload.
The QLS president, Bill Potts (pictured), said Ms Carew will make an excellent judge and is a worthy replacement for Judge Graham Bell, who retired a year ago.
“We have no doubt she will be a terrific judge and the Queensland legal community welcomes her appointment with open arms,’’ Mr Potts said.
“However, members of the Society continue to raise serious concerns about delays in both the Family Court and family law matters in the Federal Circuit Court.”
Mr Potts said Queensland lawyers report delays up to two years for trial dates in both the Federal Circuit Court and the Family Court, and then there are often delays of up to 18 months in judgments bringing closure.
He also said there is a shrinking pool of legal aid for family law matters.
“One judge is very welcome but more are needed to alleviate the delays and heavy workloads. Two more judges in the Family Court would return Queensland to the position it was in in 2011,” Mr Potts said.
“The family trial division has a massive backlog and there is a dire need for three more Federal Circuit Court judges throughout the State.”
The QLS has said it is ready to engage with the Attorney-General on the issue of resourcing and work through the need in Queensland.